Arundel Sideloader and OtherSideloader Bottle Cages
Compact frames have wrought havoc to water bottle placement. On road bikes, oversized tubing and the short distance between the cage mounts and the top tube can make it impossible to pull a water bottle out. On mountain bikes, the smaller frames and suspension elements can make downtube water bottle mounts seem like a cruel joke. Yes, people tell us about hydration packs, and we even have one, but we hate wearing them and there should be no reason at all to sport one on the road unless you're packing several meals and a complete change of clothes.
This is where side-loading water bottle cages come in. A well-designed side-loading bottle cage should hold the bottle in a traditional place, but allow the bottle to come out without hitting the nearby top tube, seat tube, or top/downtube junction.
Arundel developed the Sideloader for compact frames and based the design on their Dave-O. Even people only moderately shorter than the median height riding compact frames can find the braze-ons for a seat tube mounted bottle cage don't allow easy insertion and removal of a water bottle. The original Arundel Sideloader was developed so people could have a seat tube mounted cage that allowed the rider to use their right hand to pull a bottle out from the side. The guys at Arundel say the bottle insertion and removal is more of a 3/4 position, halfway between a traditional top-loading bottle cage and a total side-loading cage.
If you like to use the same hand for both insertion and removal of both seat tube and down tube bottles and want side-loading cages in both spots, you need to get one Sideloader and one OtherSideloader. For those who steer with the left and handle bottles with the right, the Sideloader goes on the seat tube and the OtherSideloader on the downtube. For those who steer right and grab bottles left, it is the opposite. Also, for maximum mounting flexibility, Arundel has two sets of braze on holes on each cage. There's an upper and lower set. Lower obviously will give more room for pulling bottles out, however, the other cage and the derailleur clamp, and now maybe even the derailleur battery might interfere with lowest-possible mounting.
For the seat tube-mounted cage, if you use the lower set of mounting holes, meaning the bottle cage is sitting higher than if you used the upper set of mounting holes, you will need at least eight inches of space from the lower braze on bottle bolt to the bottom of the top tube if using a large-capacity Specialized bottle. This measurement is for a really tight, barely-able-to-get it out squeeze. For that kind of tight fight with a small-capacity Specialized bottle, you need at least seven and a quarter inches. In both cases, an extra half-inch would do wonders. Mounting the cage on the upper set of holes gives you another 7/8" of an inch, so you can probably work it so the braze-on to bottom of top tube distance is that much shorter.
Some compact frames run the braze ons so low as to have the front derailleur clamp close enough to the lower hole that you'll need spacers to move the bottle cage forward enough to clear the clamp. In other cases, you'll find that the upper and lower braze on bolt holes have the front derailleur clamp in between. While we've found that our own interference issues are rendered moot with a 1mm spacer, the kind you'd find as a washer in hardware stores, between the cage and the frame for both bolts, others will need more distance to clear the clamp. In this case, the quick and dirty solution is to take the rounded, knurled nut that comes on the stems of Presta-valve tubes and use them as the spacers between the cage and frame.
Since we're doing all this measuring, we should give you the weighing as well. Our Sideloader came in at 30g, as did the OtherSideloader. Both sets of bolts came in at 6g apiece. Our two 1mm spacers weigh less than 1g.
We've already tested out the Arundel Dave-O and Mandible cages. In both cases, they were pretty, light, and functional. The Dave-O uses shape as well as surface area to hold the bottle. The Mandible uses clamping force. Of the two, we prefer the Mandible because it seems to be a much more secure fit.. The Sideloader and Othersideloader, are by design a less-secure fit, being that they have the arm design of the Dave-O, where surface area provides some of the grip and a wider gap between the left and right side arms. This is because any tighter and the bottle couldn't come out sideways. The flip side is that those who have a tight fit on the seat tube will have the top tube as a limiter to prevent the bottle from popping upwards and out. And a benefit of the design is that if you really want to, the bottle can be pulled out almost completely sideways.
We did our usual testing thing of running oversized bottles in both cages for a number of weeks of training rides. Initially, we were really worried about losing bottles because the cage clamping force feels much lower than compared to the Dave-O. The bottles come in and out easily.Maybe it was luck, but we also had no issue with sugary drink residue getting on the cage arms and acting like glue to hold the bottles in. In over a month of riding, we have yet to lose a bottle and the one that nearly popped out did so after a much rougher railroad track crossing than anticipated.
We have to admit that we were waiting for bottles to come flying out and we fear that our first such incident with the OtherSideloaders will happen the day this piece is published. But this cage wasn't made for our bike. Riding these cages strikes us as an unnecessary compromise for people who are 5'6" and taller riding non-compact frames. For those who have cramped frame triangles either because of their height or their preferred compact frame just doesn’t give much room, the cages seem less like a necessary compromise and one that isn't so bad as the bottles will have a secondary retention system in the form of frame tubing.